Saturday, July 2, 2016

Hardy Boys #149 Mystery Twister, #150 Crisscross Crime, and #151 Rocky Road

In Hardy Boys #149, The Chase for the Mystery Twister, Frank and Joe travel with a team of storm chasers in Oklahoma.  When a man's house is destroyed by a tornado, Frank and Joe become suspicious that the man has faked the destruction of valuable possessions.  They investigate the possible insurance scam.

I wasn't happy when I started this book.  I don't like Nancy Drew #155, The Mystery in Tornado Alley, so I knew this one would be tough.  You can't make a mystery out of a tornado.  It's a weather phenomenon.  Let's see what happens...

I was so bored at the beginning of the book. We learn everything there is to know about tornadoes and storm chasers.  The information might be interesting to all of you, but I have known it most of my life.  I could hardly stand reading it.

Just like in the Nancy Drew book, the author took real place names in Oklahoma and used them along with fake names.  That's fine, but the real names make no sense.  This book uses Lone Wolf as the primary setting, which is in southwestern Oklahoma, but has it near Tahlequah, which is in northeastern Oklahoma.  Near the end of the book, we learn that the book is set near Tulsa, so Lone Wolf is in the wrong part of the state.

On page 52, Frank discovers that the phone lines are down.  He wonders how Kanner called Bixby to let him know about the damage.  What?!  It's 1998.  Cell phones did exist in 1998.  Later in the book, it is finally mentioned that Kanner has a cell phone.  Frank is such an idiot.

A press conference is called to show footage of this mysterious anticyclonic twister.  The footage is shown on television, but the owner of the footage says he can't share the videotape with anyone.  I couldn't help thinking that since the footage had just aired that a bunch of people had probably recorded it on their VCRs.  But of course nobody considers anything like that!

The insurance scam has to do with someone faking a tornado.  I find it hard to believe that someone could use a tractor to pull apart a house and somehow convince the National Weather Service assessment team that a tornado occurred.  There would be little problems like no debris field.  Real tornadoes scatter the debris everywhere and for miles.

At the end of the book Frank and Joe decide to take a train home because they don't want to fly.  The state of Oklahoma had no passenger rail service from 1979 to 1999, and this book was published in 1998.  Oops.  Even from 1999 to the present, the only passenger rail service is from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, but Frank and Joe are in Tulsa.

The climax of this book is quite unbelievable, but it is more believable than the climax of Nancy Drew, The Mystery in Tornado Alley.  This book also has a better story, albeit highly flawed.

I did not enjoy the first part of the book, but I did enjoy the later part of the book.

In Hardy Boys #150, The Crisscross Crime, smart bank robbers stage a disturbance at one bank while they rob another bank.  The pattern repeats, so Frank and Joe work on predicting where the next robbery will occur so that they can catch the thieves.

This book had me from the first page and is interesting all the way through.  This is a very good book.

In Hardy Boys #151, The Rocky Road to Revenge, the Hardys visit Silver Crest lodge in the Rocky Mountains.  The owner, Clay Robinson, is building a resort nearby.  Several people who live in a nearby town are against it.  A strange orange light is seen in the sky, leaving everyone wondering what it might be.  Robinson disappears, and Frank and Joe wonder if someone against the resort wanted him to disappear.

You'd never know from the cover that this book is about alien abductions and UFOs.  Frank is skeptical, but Joe is mostly convinced that aliens have visited earth.  I like how the boys have opposing views, which means the reader will agree with one of the brothers.  Skeptics will align with Frank, and believers will align with Joe.  It's quite clever.

I think this book could be a bit scary to some children.  A few scenes are spooky and would have scared me if I had read the book when I was quite young.

This author is good about helping the reader keep characters straight.  When characters are mentioned at the beginning of a scene, descriptive words, such as an identifying hair color, are used to help the reader remember each character.  For instance, on page 133 the text reads, "Frank had not had the pleasure of meeting the short blond Bev and the tall dark Myra face-to-face."  This makes reading so much easier.

The question and answer session at the end is not boring, because the reader gets interesting new information during the entire scene.  Strangely, the book never gives an answer for what caused the orange light, leaving the explanation open-ended.  Nothing is implied either way about the orange light, so the reader can make the decision.

This is an excellent book.  I loved it.

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